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The Running Dream

4.3  ·  Rating Details ·  16,691 Ratings  ·  2,657 Reviews
Winner of the 2012 Schneider Family Book Award

Jessica thinks her life is over when she loses a leg in a car accident. She's not comforted by the news that she'll be able to walk with the help of a prosthetic leg. Who cares about walking when you live to run?

As she struggles to cope with crutches and a first cyborg-like prosthetic, Jessica feels oddly both in the spotlight
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published January 11th 2011 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
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Chelsea Weaver-Smith I loved The Fault in our Stars, and I this is one of my all-time favorite books! It is a really quick read for me, and yes, well-written as well as…moreI loved The Fault in our Stars, and I this is one of my all-time favorite books! It is a really quick read for me, and yes, well-written as well as captivating. Read my review if you have any more questions. I think I covered any others you may have!(less)
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Community Reviews

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Whitney Atkinson
Apr 26, 2015 Whitney Atkinson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't believe I listened to this entire thing in one night. It was so addicting. My favorite thig about it is that it's not just some story about Jessica recovering and being able to run again, but it has this great moral about disabilities in general that you should never judge anyone based off of their looks. I think the fact that this book incorporated and highlighted a character with cerebral palsy was incredible and eye-opening.
Overall this book had an awesome moral and it exceeded my ex
Aug 19, 2012 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was nervous about reading The Running Dream. On the one hand, Wendelin Van Draanen has become one of my favorite YA authors over the past few months, thanks to her brilliant Sammy Keyes YA mystery series. On the other, I've come to be wary of novels featuring kids with amputeeism--thanks, in part, to books like Hannah Tinti's The Good Thief, which stars a kid without a hand but reads as if the author has never talked to a person without a hand in her life. So I'd been deliberately avoiding Van ...more
Jul 31, 2014 Frezanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There was some books that a 5-star is not enough to convey how amazing they are. This is one of the books. I wish I can give it six stars, ten stars....because this book is up there on a caliber by itself.

For me, what makes this book amazing is how real the story was told. This story is an emotional one and actually Wendelin van DRaanen can easily exploit the story to make us, the reader, sob and cry and feel sorry for the character. But, she didn't do it.
She told the story as it is, nothing les
Jan 27, 2014 Cat rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
I am not a runner. In fact, my body vehemently resists most exercise, preferring the couch, Netflix, and fistfuls of potato. So a book centered around the love of running did not seem to be my cup of tea. But this? This was pretty good. It almost, almost made me want to get up and run.

In The Running Dream, 17-year old track star Jessica has just lost her right foot. The book follows her through her frustrations, healing, and eventual ability to feel comfortable in her own skin. It's a perfectly
Oct 03, 2015 Irshad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen is undoubtedly a great book. It got me hooked right from the start. Just the synopsis alone is enough for anyone to pick the book up and immediately start reading it.

For me, the beginning of the book was the most memorable. It was when Jessica had just lost one of her legs; her worst nightmare. The horror, the pain and agony she had to deal with just to walk again was truly heartbreaking. Being a runner in her school, her legs are definitely the most im
Oct 26, 2014 Hallie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am deeply out of step with friends again on this one, and it feels a bit like kicking a puppy to say how much I disliked a book about a runner who loses her foot but overcomes her tragedy - in theory. In reality, I disliked the prose, very much disliked the voice and hated the odd little pro-track-team/anti-other types of athletes (or bad track team whiners) thing going on. Little quote to indicate the prose before another few quotes just to vent. This one comes two pages after Jessica asks he ...more
Brian Kelley
Jan 08, 2012 Brian Kelley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Positive. Uplifting. Inspirational.

Unlike any book I've read recently, positive energy radiates from Wendelin Van Draanen's YA novel The Running Dream. I'd added the book to my "to read" pile at some point this summer and over the course of a few months several books have shouldered their way past it and into my hands.

It took my overhearing a conversation in my 8th grade classroom a couple of weeks ago for me to anchor the book solidly into my upcoming (current) reading blitz during the holida
Dec 13, 2015 Allison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Running Dream wasn’t just a book that you would read any day and put it down afterwards. After I finished reading this book, it made me think more and deeper about the situation.

Jessica, the star runner on her track team, loses a leg in a car crash. She struggles to walk or even hobble to places. This completely frustrates and agers her. She just keeps on asking herself, “Why did it have to be me?!” Eventually, the track team saves up enough money to generously buy Jessica a new prosthetic
Amanda Koger
Mar 08, 2016 Amanda Koger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Favorite Quote: "That’s the funny thing about running. The deceptive thing about it. It may seem mindless, but it’s really largely mental. If the mind’s not strong, the body acts weak, even if it’s not. If the mind says it’s too cold or too rainy or too windy to run, the body will be more than happy to agree. If the mind says it will be better to rest or recover or cut practice, the body will be glad to oblige."

I may have, in fact, read this book in a day. I highly recommend it. Even if you aren
Duffy Pratt
Jul 13, 2014 Duffy Pratt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
I'm torn about how I feel about this book. For what it aspires to be, its quite good. But I wanted more from it. The story is decently told and moves along nicely. The characters are stock, but there's enough depth there to tug on the heartstrings at a couple of points. For basic background, this is the story of a high school track star who loses her right leg in a bus accident.

There are several aspects of the book that are quite good. First, there is a strong and clear sense of what its like to
5 glorious stars to this one! What a wonderful and brave story!

I often find myself steering clear of falling and getting back stories these days. Often they feel manipulative and contrived. But The Running Dream, now this is a genuinely good story about falling and getting back up. The tone is honest and sincere. Wendelin Van Draanen made every character in The Running Dream relatable/understandable. Jessica's story is about losing and winning. The Running Dream is more about the love of life t
Dec 07, 2014 alisha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’m a very unathletic person. I don’t tend to enjoy exercising and don’t play sports, so for me to say that The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen made me want to get up and run is high praise in itself.

The Running Dream follows 16 year old Jessica through her journey of grief and healing as she attempts to live life as an amputee. Her loss of her leg means the possibility of running (Jessica’s main passion) seems to be just a dream - unattainable.

One of the reasons I rated this book highly
Jan 22, 2014 Stephanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was outstanding! It will definitely stick with me for the rest of my life. It made me appreciate my life and what/who I have. After reading this book I've definitely changed my way on how I see people with disabilities- not that I ever saw disabled people in a bad way- but it's made me realize that there's way more to them then there condition and that I should take the time to get to know them. Also, since I enjoy exercise and running it also motivated me a whole lot more to just get ...more
Apr 10, 2012 Aleeeeeza rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-read
like becca so very perfectly encapsulated, this book's 'very... vanilla. Very squeaky clean.'

couldn't have put it better meself. in a lot of ways it reminds me of Wonder, with the plot revolving around a disabled teen/tween tryna get his/her shizz together, and the book being a neatly-packaged message on the power of kindness and/or determination. i guess i prefer my contemps to be a little more...realistic, as in, a lot more dark and gut-wrenching and thus life-like.
Lulu Ali
Mar 10, 2016 Lulu Ali rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed, 2016
So powerful! I got emotional quite a few time.
Sep 12, 2014 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: runners and anyone who has ever wanted to cross any type of finish line
1st read 7/21/11: I loved this book!! The Running Dream is definitely one of my all-time favorites. I don't know if it was the plot, or the characters, or the running theme, but I loved it all the same. Jessica, the main character is very similar to me, which made the message really hit home.

1. She is 16.
2. She is a runner. "I am a runner. That's what I do. That's who I am" (6).
3. She runs the 400 meter dash. "Fifty-five flat! It's a new personal best for me. A new record for the league" (11).
Sara Kate
What a sweet story this was. Very inspiring and emotional which surprised me. I love being so pleasantly surprised by a book. This was such a great read and every young girl, boy even adults should read this little gem. It was so easy to get swept away with this story and the message behind it.
Jun 30, 2011 Suzanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't in the right frame of mind to start this: The realism and the idea of the main character coping with a catastrophic injury just wasn't appealing. Soon, though, I was into it and amazed at how involved I was becoming. Almost every place in the narrative that things could have gone sappy, I allowed myself to find uplifting. What might have come off as didactic turned out inspirational. Bits that some writers might cast in a melodramatic light were just honestly emotional.

The scenario isn'

I ran competitively for seven years of my life, and still run on occasion, so young adult novels about runners feel like they were written specifically with me in mind. I’m really glad that my book club gave me the opportunity to read this book as it’s been chilling on my shelves for a while. It sounds like the weirdest thing to say about a book where the main character is an amputee, but The Running Dream made me all kinds of happy.

The Running Dream is one of the most readable books I’ve read i
I'm a huge fan of track and field. Which is not surprising if you knew where I came from. In my country this guy *points to picture* is practically a national hero.

While reading this story I couldn't get Oscar Pistorius out of my mind. He was one of track and field's biggest comeback stories this year and, like Jessica, he is also a BK (below knee) amputee. My throat was raw for most of this novel-- but in a good way. Jessica's attitude towards her missing limb, life, family, and friends was ver
Aug 17, 2016 Trisha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I feel like I'm flying."

For a runner, you know exactly what that phrase means. The sound of your feet hitting the ground, your arms swishing, the breeze, the sun, the rain. I'm a runner. I absolutely love running and I have for a very long time.

I can't imagine if that had been taken away from me when I was younger - in high school. But that's what's happened to Jessica. In a tragic, horrible, senseless accident - a student is killed and Jessica is injured. This story is about Jessica's recovery
Oct 19, 2013 Beatrice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Running Dream is such an inspiring story that has encouraged me to consciously be more aware of how lucky I am. It really is so important to be grateful, and to remember not to take things for granted, though that is much easier said than done. Jessica was a very strong protagonist with so much determination and self-awareness. I really enjoyed seeing things through the lens of her perspective, as she was both likeable and relatable. The Running Dream is realistic and familiar, yet its subje ...more
I enjoyed this book. I am so grateful I finished this in one sitting. It was a 'feel-good' story with a great message for everyone. I was so wrapped up in the story, I didn't really notice the writing or any of the other things I take into consideration as I write a review. Usually when the author is completely dedicated to painting a pretty picture, I start the eye rolling. This was a pretty picture, but it didn't bother me. It worked because the story constantly progressed and moved on.

This b
Feb 08, 2016 Noella rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jessica loves running but an unfortunate accident leads to her losing a leg. The Running Dream is told through Jessica's perspective as she is fitted with a prosthetic leg and makes adjustments in her life. I thought the author captured the feeling of frustration and alienation as she integrates herself back into school. Jessica begins to take notice of Rosa, a girl with cerebral palsy in a wheelchair and learns not to define someone by their disability and not to let her own disability define h ...more
Mrs. Cubby Culbertson
Well, I believe I have a new top contender for my favorite book for 2013! My favorite books for 2012 were Wonder and The One and Only Ivan. Ahhh, The Running Dream. I loved the story and I love the way that Jessica's emotions, and goals, and circumstances can be recognized in many other situations. Her determination and spirit can be inspiration for many people facing difficulties. Wow! Just WOW! Get it! Read it! Enjoy it!
Lesly Duran
Nov 25, 2015 Lesly Duran rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You may be perfectly fine one second, then suddenly you think your life is over. This happened to the main character of the story named Jessica Carlisle. The genre of the book is realistic fiction because the events that happened in the story can happen in real life. Overall, this story was very emotional and made you be thankful you had both legs and arms. (view spoiler) ...more
There were parts of this book that I thought were done well, and the majority , which in my opinion was unrealistic, flippant, and sadly played into the same old tropes about disability.

I should preface this by saying that I have cerebral palsy, the same condition as Rosa in the book. I read the book at my sister's suggestion after she read it as part of a health class. I had high expectations for this story, hearing my sister's praise and seeing all the positive reviews, but I ended up very dis
At first glance, The Running Dream doesn't seem like much. Just another one of those hart-warming stories or whatnot. But they didn't seem to think that way on Goodreads. Every review I had read gave this book a 5 stars, and an infinite amount of praises. So, setting my low expectations aside, I went into the book with fresher, better viewpoint. And higher expectations. Needless to say, I wish I had kept those low expectations, because I wasn't all that impressed by this book...

Jessica wasn't a
Jun 10, 2013 Helen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of 16-year-old Jessica, a high school track star who loses part of her right leg below the knee after being in a bus accident following a track meet. Jessica lives to run and is devestated to think that she will never run again. The story begins in the hospital following the accident and we see Jessica's progress through her first-person viewpoint as she slowly adjusts physically and mentally to her new condition.

Jessica is likeable and realistic. If she appears whiney and unap
Mar 06, 2016 Emma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I have never read a book that made me feel this way. The Running Dream is a truly inspiring book. It teaches that you need to be thankful for what you have and it also teaches you that just because you loose something doesn't mean that you are weaker.
I loved the characters in this book so much. I loved Jessica, the girl who lost her leg, because she always was trying to get better at everything she did and she worked hard on everything. She was so kind and caring. I also loved Fiona because she
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Wendelin Van Draanen has written more than thirty novels for young readers and teens. She is the author of the 18-book Edgar-winning Sammy Keyes series, and wrote Flipped which was named a Top 100 Children’s Novel for the 21st Century by SLJ, and became a Warner Brothers feature film with Rob Reiner directing. Her novel The Running Dream was awarded ALA’s Schneider Family Award for its portrayal o ...more
More about Wendelin Van Draanen...

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“If the mind's not strong, the body acts weak, even if it's not. If the mind says it's too cold or too rainy or too windy to run, the body will be more than happy to agree. If the mind says it would be better to rest or recover or cut practice, the body will be glad to oblige.” 60 likes
“I wipe away my tears and nod, because the pain in my leg is nothing compare to the one in my heart.” 36 likes
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